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Business Continuity Management System BCMS

Ana Canteli

Written by Ana Canteli on 10 June 2022

Today any organization can see its activity interrupted for reasons beyond its control—technical problems, interruption of public supply, natural disasters, health emergencies, etc.

Organizations have business continuity management systems to provide companies with a reference framework to manage their business continuity effectively.

A Business Continuity Management System (BCMS) identifies the effects of an interruption of activity and establishes measures to act if it occurs. It would help to consider all the factors and agents that must affect a risky situation. The continuity management system applies to any organization, regardless of sector or size. In any case, it ensures the entity's durability in the face of catastrophic events that force it to interrupt the activity.

How to define and apply a business continuity management system

Implementing a Business Continuity Management System to address emergencies properly requires several requirements. It is necessary to understand how a BCMS works to establish the company's priorities. Therefore, the management will determine the most critical operations to start developing the action plans. All the actors must be considered, and all possible situations analyzed: personnel, technological factors, databases, physical spaces, etc. Once all this information is collected, the plan can be established to return to normality as soon as possible.

Within the Continuity Plan of a business, essential factors can determine its degree of success, the RTO and the RPO.

The RTO ( Recovery Time Objective ) - defines the time during which an organization can tolerate the failure of its systems and the associated drop in service level without affecting business continuity.

The answer will depend on the importance of each application. Here we must analyze each case; The application that provides service to a hypermarket's cash registers will not be the same as the application for payroll management, executed once a month.

 The generic steps to follow to recover applications and data in case of contingency are:

  • Restore the computer (depending on the type of problem, it can be minutes, hours, or days)
  • Restore backups
  • Resume operation

From this point on, the missing transactions must be repeated, from the moment of the service outage until the moment of recovery, which will be the higher the RPO (Recovery Point Objective) levels and RTO.

RPO refers to the volume of data at risk of loss that the organization considers tolerable; that is, the transactions of a period that we are willing to lose or have to reintroduce into the system. The answer will depend on the volume of transactions per unit of time and the backup mechanisms. The RPO determines the level of maximum tolerable loss of data entered from the last backup until the system crash and does not depend on the recovery time.

Defining the RPO and RTO values ​​can provide unacceptable results for the management, which is why it is essential to calculate these scenarios for the business's good. Once fixed, you can establish your recovery strategy, which will have associated expenses that vary depending on the Recovery Point Objective and the Recovery Time Objective.

Advantages of implementing a business continuity management system

There are many benefits of implementing a BCMS for any organization:

  • Improvement of business risk management.
  • Greater reliability of suppliers and customers.
  • Reputation improvement.
  • Cost and time savings, since the organization will know how to act in the event of an activity interruption.
  • Table of responsibilities defined and known by all those affected by the BCMS. Senior management will ensure the persistence of the activity in the face of interruptions that may occur.
  • Resource planning and testing to address risks that may affect the continuation of the business.
  • Action protocol with suppliers, customers, public administrations, and interested parties if any cause prevents the normal development of operations.
  • Creation of intellectual capital through homogenizing vocabulary and terms for internal and external communication.

Document management in business continuity plans

Currently, the profusion of applications and sources of information exponentially multiplies the amount of information and data an entity generates and manages. This provides higher productivity and profits and therefore helps ensure the survival and even prosperity of companies.

But, if not appropriately managed, the technological factor can be the Achilles' heel of an organization.

From the moment any information or data is stored in a document extension of any type, having a document management system is vital to managing an organization in any circumstance. Both when things are going well and when difficulties are going through. In this sense, the OpenKM document management software contributes to creating a centralized document repository so that the company can be sure of the volume of information it handles, enabling it to calculate the RPO, the RTO, and the other metrics and data needed to build a solid and reliable business continuity plan.

 

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